Oh boy. Look, I feel like I cheated you last week. Justin scheduled me for the Risk Management article earlier in the week and I was researching and preparing to ensure I selected picks that would make you money. My week got a little crazy and I threw this harmless message in the AAE Contributor Slack channel - “If anyone wants to do the Risk Management article feel free. I am not going to get to it tonight.” Guess who was the first to respond? Yep, Scott Lopez.
About an hour after seeking assistance Scott chimed in: “I put a Risk Management post in the dashboard (kind of like our queue of submitted or in-process articles). Zero pressure to actually use it.” You see, that is when we should have known.
Scott was promising tanks and airplanes with his picks, but deep down he knew there was a good chance they wouldn’t live up to par. Now, this isn’t some Scott bash fest going on here; okay, so he did go 0-4 last week on his picks, but these selections are a challenging endeavor.
I may be just a decent 7-5 heading into week five of the season, but 7-5 not only gets you to a bowl game, it also gets you into the Sun Belt Championship game (see 2018). 0-4 gets you your star quarterback to red-shirt on the year, or maybe that is 1-3, but you get my point.
Navy at Memphis
Thurs, Sept. 26 8:00 ET ESPN
This game originally opened at -14 and I would have obviously told you to go after that if you could find it. The early bettors agreed and that was the reason for the shift in Navy’s favor. I still like Navy at +10.5 but don’t love it had it been at the +14 mark. Here’s why:
- Service Academy (or is it triple option) teams always do well as double digit underdogs. Jason Kirk wrote about that here, although he focused on the +21 mark, the concept still holds true.
- Navy is 2-0 ATS this year and Memphis is 2-1.
- In the previous four meetings Navy would have covered a hypothetical +10.5 each year - yes, this includes Navy’s 3-10 campaign in 2018 where Navy defeated Memphis.
I said on this week’s podcast that I liked Navy’s chances of keeping the game close. This is the first real test for the Mids and for that reason I am NOT telling you that you NEED to bet on this game, but it should certainly have your interest. Justin noted this week is six-week exams and that Navy doesn’t usually play well then - especially given that it is a Thursday night road game. More reasons to probably stay away from the game, but if you have to pick, take Navy and the over. Weird things happen on Thursday night football.
Navy (+10.5) - Moderate Risk
Over (53.5) - High Risk (both teams have defenses that have shown up this year but this will be the most challenging test for both teams)
San Jose State at Air Force
Fri, Sept 27 8:00 ET CBSSN
Air Force (-19)
Another game with considerable movement from the opening line (Air Force -24). This movement is undoubtedly a result of San Jose’s win over Arkansas last weekend, but folks - Arkansas isn’t very good. It is no secret that I don’t think highly of the San Jose State football program nor their ~21,000 seat stadium but a win over any SEC team is great for their program and should breed confidence going into the Air Force game. I mean, this is a San Jose State football team that had only two FBS wins in the last two seasons!
Enough about that though, you came here for some pick analysis. As favorites, Air Force is 2-0 ATS this year and 1-0 at home. So, a no brainer, right? Take Air Force here. To add to that probability, San Jose is just 1-2 ATS to include a 1-1 showing as underdogs. In favor of the Spartans, however, is the fact that they are 1-0 as road underdogs (need I remind you how bad of a team Arkansas is right now?)
Derrick Odum is in his third year as defensive coordinator for the Spartans and he was ultimately responsible for Army’s 52-3 win over San Jose State last season. I know Air Force doesn’t run the same option style football as Army, but I do expect the Falcons to give Odum and Co. fits.
Donald Hammond III is listed as “probable” and if he is healthy and playing I would say take Air Force with confidence, but in typical Troy Calhoun fashion I am not sure we will know this answer before kickoff. Isaiah Sanders is more than capable of guiding the Falcons to a comfortable win but I could see San Jose sneaking out of there with a 14 or 17 point loss just because of the different dynamic he brings to the table.
Every San Jose State game has hit the under this year and Air Force has delivered the under in the last two games (Colorado and Boise State). This is because the Falcons’ defense is better than people realize which I think will push the under again and also keep the Spartans to 14 or less.
Air Force (-19) - Low Risk (moves to moderate without Hammond)
Under (56) - Low Risk